Dialogue for peace in Norway

Ema Talam address Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

Ema Talam addresses Rotary members in Oslo, Norway, during the program on dialogue as a means of promoting peace.

By Ema Talam, a university student from Bosnia and Herzegovina

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be selected as one of 16 participants from the Western Balkans to participate in a program for university students and young professionals, age 20 through 30, organized by The Rotary Club of Oslo Vest, Norway, and supported by other Rotary clubs throughout Norway and the Western Balkans.

When I boarded the plane on 15 June, I did not know that this was going to be one of the most interesting summers of my life. I didn’t know much about Rotary and I knew Continue reading

Building peace through storytelling

Kiran Singh Sirah at the United Nations during International Day of Peace.

Kiran Singh Sirah (left) at the United Nations in New York during International Day of Peace.

By Kiran Singh Sirah, 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow, Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

There are moments in our lives that we remember forever. These moments become our stories and help us understand and connect with a larger global community. When we tell our stories, we inspire others to tell their stories, and that produces positive change. Ultimately, through the power of storytelling, we build healthier communities, more effective workplaces, and schools of learning that enrich our lives. Continue reading

Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland.

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland, Australia.

By Athili Sapriina, 2013-2014 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia

I first became aware of Rotary Peace Fellowships during a trip to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, in 2008. I had previously attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and over the years witnessed an increased involvement of Rotary with indigenous peoples issues. I am honored to be the first Naga to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship.

The three million Nagas are indigenous peoples of the mountainous frontier between India and Burma. Since the end of British colonialism, Nagas have fiercely defended their independence resulting in the death of thousands — Indians, Burmese and Nagas

Continue reading

Peace, coffee, and sustainability

Rotary Peace Fellows take part in a leadership retreat.

Rotary Peace Fellows take part in a leadership retreat.

By Pamela Broussard, 2007 Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

It has been more than 10 years since Rotary started training Rotary Peace Fellows around the globe. Today there are over 800 alumni working in a range of careers such as: international development, relief work, refugee services, military, government, education, and local grassroots organizations. If you have seen a crisis in the news, or on the Continue reading

Mediation in the life of a peace builder

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

By Dimitra Messini, a 2013-15 Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan 

Having chosen to pursue human rights as a lawyer, mediation has been a major part of my life. Even in my home country of Greece where mediation is not a popular practice, I have used mediation to resolve issues, helping married couples in prolonged disputes or companies with substantial lawsuits. Every kind of law, from criminal to civil, has a place for mediation.  Continue reading

Rotary Peace Centers build a better future

Rhett Sangster

Rhett Sangster

Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Canada

I recently visited the spring conference at Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, one of six worldwide. As a supporter of the Rotary peace centers program, I had an opportunity to see firsthand how our support is being used.

Rhett Sangster, a Saskatchewan nominated for the program from my Rotary district in Ottawa, was one of twelve graduating peace fellows delivering a presentation that day. His unique and innovative explanation of the ongoing treaty negotiations with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, known as First Nations, changed my ideas and perceptions about the process. Continue reading

Reducing violence in St. Thomas

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Erinma Bell, a graduate of Rotary’s Peace Center program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

Revenge and retaliation killings amount to 60 percent of street violence/homicides in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

By any standard, historic or comparative, the Virgin Islands experiences extremely high levels of violence. Reducing violence was cited as the territory’s number one priority in a recent survey of citizens. Violent crime, and the fear of it, has changed the way people live.

I was asked by the Rotary clubs of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Thomas Sunrise to come Continue reading

The benefits of a Rotary Peace Fellowship

Rotary Peace Fellow Julia Smith in South Africa.

Rotary Peace Fellow Julia Smith in Nairobi, Kenya.

By Julia Smith, Rotary Peace Fellow 

In 2008-09, I was lucky enough to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship to complete my master’s degree at the University of Bradford. Five years later, I continue to build on that remarkable learning experience.

The University of Bradford is famous for its conflict resolution expertise and I took full advantage of this by taking courses on African Approaches to Conflict Resolution and Applied Conflict Resolution. Continue reading

Life after becoming a Rotary Peace Fellow

Anne Smiley during her studies at the Rotary Peace Center in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in 2012.

Anne Smiley during her studies at the Rotary Peace Center in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand in 2012.

By Anne Smiley, a 2012 graduate of the Rotary Peace Center in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

My only hesitation in jumping at the incredible opportunity to be a Rotary Peace Fellow was looking forward to retirement and not having to do anything! A dear friend of mine who took part in the program encouraged me, saying “It will change your life.” Indeed, after the program, I could no longer come home and look the other way or not respond to issues that I care deeply about. Continue reading

Sisters share a passion for peace

Katrina (left, second row) and Summer (center) in 2009 with members of MarketPlace India, a fair trade textile cooperative based in Mumbai.

Katrina (left, second row) and Summer (center) in 2009 with members of MarketPlace India, a fair trade textile cooperative based in Mumbai.

By Summer Lewis, a 2010-12 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland

My sister Katrina and I grew up overseas with our mom, an international educator. Between the two of us, we have traveled, lived and worked in 57 countries.

Katrina is a design professor. I am committed to fair trade and small-scale farmer development. We like to say that Katrina got her start playing with boxes as a kid, and I began cultivating my passion for grassroots development in the garden. Continue reading